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Holliday v. Karn

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

May 31, 2018

MARC WAYNE HOLLIDAY, AIS #257141, Plaintiff,
DAVID KARN, et al., Defendants.




         This 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action is pending before the court on a complaint filed by Marc Wayne Holliday, an indigent state inmate currently serving a twenty-year sentence for second degree sodomy imposed upon him by the Circuit Court of Chilton County, Alabama. In this complaint, Holliday complains that he received ineffective assistance at his resentencing and challenges the constitutionality of the sodomy conviction on which he is currently incarcerated. Doc. 1 at 2-3.[1] Holliday names Sibley Reynolds, the judge who presided over his state criminal proceedings, and David Karn, the attorney appointed to represent him at resentencing, as defendants in this cause of action. Holliday seeks a reversal of his sodomy conviction and expungement of all records regarding this conviction. Doc. 1 at 4.

         Upon review of the complaint, the court concludes that this case is due to be summarily dismissed prior to service of process in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii).[2]


         A. Judge Sibley Reynolds

         Holliday alleges that Judge Sibley Reynolds violated his constitutional rights with respect to the second degree sodomy conviction entered against him pursuant to his guilty plea on September 17, 2007 and during sentencing proceedings related to his resentencing on March 10, 2011. Doc. 1 at 3. The claims against Judge Reynolds entitle Holliday to no relief in this cause of action.

         In his complaint, Holliday seeks declaratory and injunctive relief from his second degree sodomy conviction and the final sentencing order issued by Judge Reynolds. This court, however, lacks jurisdiction to render such judgment in an action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. “The Rooker-Feldman doctrine prevents . . . lower federal courts from exercising jurisdiction over cases brought by ‘state-court losers' challenging ‘state-court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings commenced.' Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Industries Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284, 125 S.Ct. 1517, 161 L.Ed.2d 454 (2005).” Lance v. Dennis, 546 U.S. 459, 460, 126 S.Ct. 1198, 1199 (2006). Although “Rooker-Feldman is a narrow doctrine, ” it remains applicable to bar Holliday from proceeding before the court as this case, with respect to any claims challenging a final order issued by a state court, is “‘brought by [a] state-court loser[] complaining of injuries caused by state-court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings commenced and inviting district court review and rejection of those judgments.' 544 U.S. at 284, 125 S.Ct. [at] 1517.” Lance, 546 U.S. at 464, 125 S.Ct. at 1201. Moreover, a § 1983 action is inappropriate either to compel or to appeal a particular course of action by a state court. Datz v. Kilgore, 51 F.3d 252, 254 (11th Cir. 1995) (A § 1983 suit arising from alleged erroneous decisions of a state court is merely a prohibited appeal of the state court judgment); see also Rolleston v. Eldridge, 848 F.2d 163 (11th Cir. 1988).

         In light of the foregoing, the court concludes that summary dismissal of any requests seeking declaratory or injunctive relief from Holliday's second degree sodomy conviction or the 2011 resentencing order issued by Judge Reynolds is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). See Clark v. State of Ga. Pardons & Paroles Bd., 915 F.2d 636 (11th Cir. 1990); see also Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989).

         B. Attorney David Karn

         Holliday complains that his attorney at resentencing, David Karn, violated his constitutional right to effective representation. Doc. 1 at 3. In accordance with applicable federal law, this allegation entitles Holliday to no relief from this court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         An essential element of a § 1983 action is that a person acting under color of state law committed the asserted constitutional deprivation. Am. Manuf. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Sullivan, 526 U.S. 40 (1999); Willis v. Univ. Health Serv., Inc., 993 F.2d 837, 840 (11th Cir. 1993).

To state a [viable] claim for relief in an action brought under § 1983, [a plaintiff] must establish that [he was] deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, and that the alleged deprivation was committed under color of state law. . . . [T]he under-color-of-state-law element of § 1983 excludes from its reach “‘merely private conduct, no matter how discriminatory or wrongful, '” Blum v. Yaretsky, 457 U.S. 991, 1002, 102 S.Ct. 2777, 73 L.Ed.2d 534 (1982) (quoting Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1, 13, 68 S.Ct. 836, 92 L.Ed. 1161 (1948)). . . . [Consequently, ] state action requires both an alleged constitutional deprivation “caused by the exercise of some right or privilege created by the State or by a rule of conduct imposed by the State or by a person for whom the State is responsible, ” and that “the party charged with the deprivation must be a ...

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